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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Closing in on a Crumbling al Qaida

This is from The Week Magazine:

The myth of al Qaida is at last starting to fade, said Lebanon’s Daily Star in an editorial. In Iraq, the terror organization has been on the run ever since its Sunni allies turned against it. Its last bastion is in the northern city of Mosul, which has been turned into a ghost town as Iraqi forces close in on the surviving rebels. Al Qaida has also suffered a serious setback in Somalia, where its local leader, Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed in a U.S. bombing raid on May 1. And it has practically disappeared from Afghanistan, which Osama bin Laden made his base in 1996. Even in the northern province of Nuristan, once an al Qaida stronghold, Arab fighters are seldom encountered. U.S. Army officers say it’s not “even a topic of conversation” anymore. FBI Director Robert Mueller now claims that al Qaida will be destroyed “within years, not decades.”

But one place where the terrorist organization is still entrenched is the mountainous border regions of Pakistan, said India’s The Times. It’s where bin Laden is thought to be hiding, and is the base from which the group has launched various terrorist attacks, including the attempted assassination of Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai. American officials are furious that the new Pakistani government is now negotiating with the regional warlords who are harboring al Qaida, said Hasan-Askari Rizvi in Pakistan’s Daily Times. But it’s the only feasible option. President Pervez Musharraf tried to get the army to root out al Qaida and the Taliban from the region, but the destruction and killing only embittered the locals, driving them into the arms of the militants. Dialogue is essential to identifying the moderates who can be persuaded to opt for peace and stability.

The U.S. has changed its strategy in Pakistan, too, said Syed Saleem Shahzad in the Hong Kong Asia Times. It had poured huge sums of money into supporting the country’s military against the terrorists ($10 billion in seven years) only to find those funds being channeled to conventional forces in the arms race against India. The generals even had the gall to ask for dollars to pay for air defense radar maintenance, even though Islamic militants have no air force. So now the U.S. is training Pakistani special operations teams to go after the terrorists; it hopes to do what it did in the Philippines, where training local troops led to suppression of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

Rather than focus on Asia and the Middle East, says David Sharrock in Britain’s The Times, we should be worried about what’s going on in North Africa, where al Qaida has had considerable success in promoting its brand through local fundamentalists. It may only have some 200 fighters in the region, but it is well organized and has started using tactics honed in Iraq: suicide attacks and sophisticated bombing techniques. But there’s no need to panic just yet, said Nazim Fethi in the North African news site Magharebia.com. As in Iraq, al Qaida’s brutal tactics are creating a backlash. Its regional leader, Abdelmalek Deroukdel, finds himself increasingly isolated after he ordered suicide attacks against civilians. Another key figure, Algeria’s Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is said to be defecting and could betray the whole local network. Despite its spectacular past successes, al Qaida has of late been looking less and less invincible.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

we should be worried about what’s going on in North Africa, where al Qaida has had considerable success in promoting its brand through local fundamentalists

Dr. Walid Phares has been warning about this for years!

Saturday, May 31, 2008 3:29:00 am  
Blogger Pastorius said...

10,000 down. 200 million to go.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 9:24:00 pm  
Blogger Damien said...

Pastorius,

It may be upsetting but we are going to have to keep fighting for a long time, unless we fight this war in a very smart, but also very ruthless manner. It won't end until the enemy sees no hope of ever defeating us, and we force unconditional surrender on them.

Sunday, June 01, 2008 2:45:00 am  
Blogger Citizen Warrior said...

I don't believe Jihadism will ever be defeated. But jihadis can be reduced to a smaller and weaker force continually. It is like Epstein-Barr's disease: You can keep the immune system powerful and thereby keep the infection suppressed.

Since the beginning, the human race has always been fighting the battle of good against evil, freedom against tyranny, sanity against religious fanaticism. Nothing has changed in that sense. And the ongoingness of the battle is no reason to feel demoralized.

In fact, because the jihadis haven't even come close to enslaving us all (when they have many advantages against us) is a cause for inspiration.

Let's celebrate every victory in this neverending battle for truth, justice, and the freedom-lover's way.

Sunday, June 01, 2008 10:43:00 pm  
Blogger Damien said...

Citizen Warrior,

"I don't believe Jihadism will ever be defeated. But jihadis can be reduced to a smaller and weaker force continually. It is like Epstein-Barr's disease: You can keep the immune system powerful and thereby keep the infection suppressed.

Since the beginning, the human race has always been fighting the battle of good against evil, freedom against tyranny, sanity against religious fanaticism."

Yes but they have been different forms of evil. Off course, they have been incredibly similar, but the Jihadists haven't been around forever. I doubt that Jihadism or even Islam will be around ten thousand years from now. Although even than, I think we will be fighting some other form of evil. So you do have a point. But none the less, everything that has a beginning comes to an end.

Monday, June 02, 2008 1:09:00 am  

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